Man, have I ever been blocked. Totally for seriously.
And one thing about me is that I’m a Taurus. Remember I hit 30 last month?
Okay, so here’s my story about writer’s block.
Usually, when asked about writer’s block, I say I don’t believe in it. Because I don’t, really. I tend to look at writing not as a talent or matter of inspiration but rather of craft, and that if you sit down and do it, it works. I try to work on multiple projects simultaneously, though, because I also know that you just can’t force anything, or maybe shouldn’t.
And I have been. I’m finishing The Prodigal Hour, and at the same time working on two projects that I’ve mentioned before even if never in much depth; one is tentatively titled A Little Heaven, the other Meets Girl. Both are marked changes of pace for me, as a writer; both first-person narratives (despite that nearly every piece in Entrekin is told first-person, it’s not my usual mode for writing. I tend to prefer third-limited, probably because I grew up reading Koontz and King and Crichton before I moved onto Gaiman. You can trace some lineage, not to mention influences, there). I’ve tried to switch back and forth between projects when the going got tough.
This time, I failed. Because I wanted to finish my novel so much. Because I like it so much. And so normally, when I would have worked on something else as I felt the story klurge to a halt because it just wasn’t yet ready, the stubborn, belligerent, dammit-do-you-know-who-I-am-and-what-I-can-do Taurus in me kicked in, and seriously, yo, fuck that bull, man.
Anyway, I spent a few days anxious. Restless. The sort of days that inspired the old exchange between James Joyce and his wife–
James’ wife: What’s the matter, honey?
Joyce: I wrote seven words today!
James’ wife: But that’s great! That’s almost your usual tally.
Joyce: But I don’t know what order they go in!
I’d write a paragraph, and then realize, no. Then do it again. Then open previous drafts and try to flip through–
Anyway. Long story short, I’m making my way out of it. More slowly than I would like, but with some certainty. And no, I didn’t finish by July, as I had hoped, but man, I can taste it.
(sometimes that’s the most fucking frustrating feeling in the entire damned world)
So that’s where I was.
And that’s where I’ll be. Wrestling the fog. Because that’s what it’s like, really; it’s a slippery, elusive little fucker you just can’t find a decent grip on to save your fuckin’ life. In its way like happiness, or love, but in its own way again more frustrating than either and, in a way yet again, more rewarding.
July 1, 2008 at 3:41 pm
I’ll trade you your block for my lack of time to get the words out as quickly as they are coming.
July 1, 2008 at 6:19 pm
Good writing is a lot like good lovin’…welp, and good anything…I guess.
You can’t force it. No matter how much you want it. No matter how briliant and fantastic you are at it. No matter how much you deserve it. Doesn’t matter at all. It comes when it’s supposed to…when you need it to…when you can’t help but get it right. It isn’t a decision. It isn’t work. It isn’t inspiration. It just is. No explanation. No formula.
Somehow, I always knew that about writing. It took me a really long time to get it with lovin’…and, well, that was really just a retrospective sorta thing. In the trenches of it, I was blind. And, now, I think I may be getting it in my big question of this year. And it’s finally not that scary. Because it just is.